The first thing to know about Atlas is that it’s Beta technology and still in development. The link above will lead to many other valuable links which I won’t duplicate here. I highly recommend this MSDN TV episode for an intro as well. You need 30 minutes to get through the show.
As an aside, I’m sure most people have no idea about some of the developer and reseller resources available from Microsoft. Check out the MSDN TV Home page, their Events and Webcasts, and ELearning site for more information than you can possibly handle. The notion that "Micro$oft" is expensive simply isn’t based on facts, especially with all of this free material. And as far as being proprietary, well there are videos and free classes and webinars presenting tons of detailed information, and lots Microsoft employees have public blogs where they discuss their development and welcome public feedback. All the info we need is available, and we have direct access to key developers and their current activity, as much as in the Open Source community or more, so the notion of propriety doesn’t seem to be an issue either.
As another aside, I really like the way the MSDN TV presentations jump from small screen whiteboards to larger screen shots. At first I was annoyed about the extra windows opening but I quickly decided that they’ve simply made good use of the medium.
Telerik r.a.d. Controls
I encourage you to spend a full 1/2 hour or more looking at their site.The r.a.d. Controls package contains everything they have to offer. r.a.d. Navigation is a smaller subset of Controls. Check out their demos. For each of the samples, click the component name in the left navigation, then click whichever option is available : Overview, Online Demos, First Look, or What’s New. For each component you may want to go deeper to see the details as well. There are a lot of components. They are each very rich and capable, and I’d welcome the opportunity to work with them. Of course none of this comes free. The r.a.d. Controls is $1000 for all components and full support. With a quantity purchase there are discounts and a purchase of five licenses entitles the licensee to the source code. I’ve sent a note to ask them whether I would get the source and discount if I broker the purchase of five licenses to my clients. There hasn’t been a response yet. I suspect they’d want some reseller or OEM arrangement.
Unfortunately I can claim no experience whatsoever with their components. They have a great explanation of AJAX/Ajax and how it relates to their components. At the moment I just don’t have the time bandwidth to compare them to Telerik. Stay tuned.
Just for grins I’ll include ComponentOne here too. These guys have been doing the component thing for years and are well known in the industry since some of their components come with free demos in Visual Studio and other similar IDE products. I have to believe they support some form of field-level processing in Web grids, etc.. A search for "ajax" on their site returned no hits so I’m not inclined to spend too much time on their site searching for info. Again, no bandwidth. Pricing appears to be comparable with Telerik, buy one component for $300 or everything they have for $1000.